Asthma and Pregnancy
Having asthma does not always mean
having a complicated pregnancy. With correct asthma management and the right care
pregnancy, most women with asthma can have a healthy pregnancy.
Asthma is one of the most common
health problems that can complicate a pregnancy. In some cases, a diagnosis of asthma
made until a woman becomes pregnant. Asthma affects a woman during pregnancy in many
More than 1 in 3 women have no change in their asthma symptoms.
More than 1 in 3 pregnant women have more severe asthma symptoms.
Fewer than 1 in 3 pregnant women have improved asthma symptoms.
Symptoms may get worse as a woman gains weight during pregnancy.
Treating asthma the right way during
pregnancy is important. Uncontrolled asthma can lead to the mother getting less oxygen.
That, in turn, affects the developing baby.
Uncontrolled asthma can lead to any of the complications listed below.
Possible complications for the mother
When not controlled, asthma can put
extra stress on the mother, as well as on the baby. Lack of oxygen will not only affect
the mother, but also the baby. Other complications from uncontrolled asthma for the
Preeclampsia (toxemia in pregnancy). This is a health problem of pregnancy marked
by raised blood pressure, water retention, and protein in the urine.
Bleeding in pregnancy or hemorrhage after giving birth
Higher rate of C-section
Giving birth too early
(preterm or premature birth)
Pulmonary embolism. This is
when a blood clot forms and travels to the lung. It can be life- threatening.
Possible complications for the
Lack of oxygen from the mother to
the baby can lead to many health problems in the baby:
The baby doesn't grow
normally during pregnancy (intrauterine growth retardation). This causes the baby
to be smaller than normal for its gestational age.
Low birth weight
The baby doesn't get enough
oxygen (neonatal hypoxia)
The baby dies
Are asthma medicines safe to use during pregnancy?
Most asthma medicines aren't
harmful to the developing baby or to the nursing baby. In fact, uncontrolled asthma
actually put you and your baby at far greater risk than the medicine used to control
asthma. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. They can work with
you to develop an asthma treatment plan tailored to your symptoms.
How can a pregnant woman lower the chance of having an asthma attack?
The American Congress of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises pregnant women to take these steps to lower
risk of having an asthma attack during pregnancy:
Stay away from asthma triggers, including tobacco smoke and other irritants.
Use asthma medicines during
the pregnancy, labor, and birth, as advised by your healthcare provider.
Exercise with moderation. Use
medicine correctly if you have exercise-induced asthma. And talk with your
provider before starting an exercise program.
Make sure to get a flu shot,
if you will be in your second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu
season (fall and winter).
When should a pregnant woman with asthma
get emergency medical treatment?
Even with the correct asthma
management plan in place, a pregnant woman should know about certain warning signs
may point to an asthma attack, such as:
Current medicine does not give rapid improvement of symptoms.
Improvement from medicines does not last as long as it had before.
Breathing becomes harder.
Your baby's kick count
decreases. This may mean your baby is not doing well (fetal distress).
Always talk with your healthcare
provider about what asthma attack warning signs to look for and when to get emergency